In addition to the resources provided by the Institute of Fundraising from Market Towers, there are eleven regional and two national groups providing a whole spectrum of activities and opportunities for all of us in the charity world. These events are open to everyone, not just for members of the Institute. However, it does pay to join, as the discounted rates for members soon cover the cost of the annual subscription.
Looking through the events calendar for November alone, there are 12 events listed - enough for any regional junkie! These range from informal networking meetings throughout Scotland, lunchtime seminars in Northern Ireland, legacy fundraising on shoestring budgets in the South West, the North East Annual Conference, the North West Annual Conference and the monthly First Thursday Fundraisers Club in London. There are also additional sessions for those interested in corporate and trust fundraising.
The benefits of joining a regional group are numerous - not just for you, but for your organisation. All of them provide a wide variety of training and developmental opportunities, either through structured sessions led by experts in their fields, debates on key issues, informal networking and peer-to-peer-learning. While providing excellent quality of learning, these sessions are also cheap (an influencing factor for your training budget-holder), very cheerful (could that be something to do with the wine that invariably flows at the end of these meetings?!) and provide a passport to a bursary for the Annual Convention. All regions run a bursary scheme, and many of the sessions provide the requisite accreditation to apply.